I hope that this finds you and your families, safe and healthy. As our city, state, and nation continue to combat the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, I want to update you on the latest information and actions regarding this public health crisis.
Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order putting New York State on PAUSE. The order directs all non-essential workers to work from home starting Sunday, March 22 at 8 pm. You can find more information about PAUSE here .
For updates on preventative and response measures, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at coronavirus.gov . Helpful information on COVID-19 on their website includes:
Congress must continue to ensure a strong and coordinated response to combat the coronavirus and protect Americans. The House swiftly passed the first coronavirus legislation on March 4th, and the second response called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 14th. Both bills have been signed into law and directly help Queens and New York. We are currently working on our third piece of legislation to address the many urgent problems the coronavirus has caused the United States.
The first coronavirus relief package (H.R. 6074 ) provides funds that could help New York invest in:
- Community health centers, which are at the forefront of combating COVID-19;
- Companies and universities that are conducting research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
- It also includes a measure that I introduced with Representatives Nydia Velázquez and Judy Chu (the Small Business Relief From Communicable Disease Induced Economic Hardship Act of 2020, H.R.6040) to provide small business disaster loans to those small businesses that have been impacted by this ongoing crisis.
The second coronavirus relief package, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (
H.R. 6201 ), further included provisions that benefit New York, such as:
- $5.26 billion for the State, $1.03 billion for New York City and $436 million for the counties to fight COVID-19 and address local budget challenges.
- Additional unemployment benefits. New York will receive millions of new dollars to help workers who lost their jobs and waive certain measures like work search requirements.
- $15 million for New York seniors who may need meals.
As Congress works on a third relief package, I have
urged President Trump and House Leadership to prioritize the protection of our most vulnerable populations, including families, students, seniors, and of course, our health care workers. I also urged President Trump to ensure that any vaccine developed to treat COVID-19 remain affordable, accessible, and available to the American people. I know that our community members are suffering as the COVID-19 virus puts immense pressure on our frontline health care workers, resulting in shortages of personal protective equipment. That is why I spearheaded an effort with other Members of Congress from New York that urges the President to immediately address the shortage of this critical protective equipment and medical devices. The President must ensure that all Americans – especially health care workers – are protected from this virus.
Small Business Disaster Loan Assistance
New York's small businesses that have suffered economic losses due to the coronavirus can now apply for disaster loans provided through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
SBA’s ability to provide these loans is based on a measure I helped pass into law. The provision was part of the first coronavirus spending package that allocated $8.3 billion in federal funds to address the outbreak.
What does this mean for New York small businesses?
The loans are now available in New York after the SBA approved New York State’s disaster declaration. This means that small businesses in all counties throughout New York State can begin applying for these Economic Injury Disaster Loans to use for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, or other bills that cannot be paid because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
How do I apply?
Caring for Our Veterans
I also wanted to share information on what the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its medical facilities are doing to protect and care for our veterans during the outbreak.
Since this situation is evolving rapidly, I encourage you to consult VA’s website for the most current information: www.va.gov/coronavirus .
Guidance from local VA medical facilities about their current operating status is available on each facility’s website, which can be found through VA’s facility locator tool: https://www.va.gov/find-locations .
What should veterans do if they think they have COVID-19?
Before visiting your local VA medical facility, community provider, urgent care center, or emergency department in the community, veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to:
- call your VA medical facilityor
- call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3to be connected).
Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via
MyhealtheVet , VA’s online patient portal.
- VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment.
- This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.
What about routine appointments and previously scheduled procedures?
The VA is encouraging all veterans to call their VA facility before seeking any care—even previously scheduled medical visits, mental health appointments, or surgical procedures. Veterans may:
- Send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet and find out whether they should still come in for their scheduled appointments.
- VA providers may arrange to convert appointments to video visits , where possible.
As your Representative, I will continue fighting to stop the spread of the coronavirus and ensure you and your family get any needed support.
- 202-590-0442 (English language callers)
- 202-577-5182 (Mandarin language callers)
- 202-420-8819 (Spanish language callers)
- 718-358-6364 (all other language callers).
Thank you, and please stay safe.
Member of Congress